January 27, 2021

Riffs: 11:29:07: Peter Chataway Interviews Phillip Pullman + Donahue warning

gcomp.jpegWant to know what Phillip Pullman himself has to say about the Golden Compass and his books that inspired the film? Christian film critic and blogger Peter Chataway interviews Phillip Pullman and asks all the questions you’ve been wondering about. No more need to wonder what Pullman had on him mind in the books or what he thinks of the movie, Lewis, LOTR, etc. It’s all here. A great interview.

The idea of Christians and atheists talking civilly like this will certainly upset some people, but I much prefer it to the usual screech and screed.

This is the only interview you will ever read with the phrase “I’m a Church of England” atheist in it. Someone tell Mr. Pullman that he may hate Lewis’s writing, but he’s apparently one of the characters in The Great Divorce.

Read: Chataway’s interview of Phillip Pullman.

For another approach, here’s Bill Donahue of the Catholic League on a recent CBS station clip.


  1. Whenever I see and hear Bill Donahue, the phrase “My way or the highway” comes to mind. Can’t we at times learn from people with whom we disagree? Why is he out to prevent the possible making of the next two movies? The Christian faith has existed for 2,000 years, are a couple of movies going to undermine everything? My advice to Bill and others like him is to take a deep breath and move on to more serious concerns such as prayer, caring for the poor, spreading the good news, etc.

  2. steve yates says

    one of her awana girls ran up to my fiance last night at church and said “Don’t go see the Golden Compass! They kill God at the end!” oh boy…

    one of the hard questions she and i have struggled with in discussing this topic is how to share these ideas with people who have never heard of Dawkins, don’t have a clue as to who Lewis is (outside of a screenwriter for Walden media), and to whom atheism is synonamous to THE anti-Christ.

    following the “wonderful” chain letter about not going to see TGC which have already being discussed here, we still haven’t come to a conclusion as to whether telling parents who can’t engage with these ideas intellectually themselves should let their kids see it.

    of course, this is all pre-movie hype – I’m going to laugh if some other awana kid (who hasn’t been paranoically pre-disposed to hate the movie) comes to Krissi and says “Jesus was in it!!!” Out of the mouths of babes…

  3. Memphis Aggie says

    “If there is an exclusively religious sin (not exclusively Christian, but certainly clearly visible among some Christians) it is the claim that all virtue belongs to their sect, all vice to others.” I had to agree there some truth in that one.

    Pullman’s more reasonable than I expected, but he can be condescending as well.

    I love fantasy and the previews are visually lush so I might see the Golden Compass someday, but not now with a 8 week old at home.

    Donahue admits this movie is probably innocuous and the Atheist they brought out tossed off some whoppers on questioning authority that were really silly. Children would be better off if they question authority was one her over the top contentions.

    I doubt this movie will do much damage in such a secular culture, when already there’s plenty of bad theology in film.

    That said I would be interested in how others with kids managed to foster and maintain their faith. I expect sheltering them from every doubt is impossible.

    My kids are young. I know I can filter out a great deal right now, but ultimately I have to prepare them the real assault on their faith they inevitably will get. Not sure exactly how to do it, I read a one of your parenting posts Michael and found it encouraging, maybe you have some more specific advice like the daily family meal time recommendation?

  4. Memphis Aggie says

    I just came across a scathing critique of Pullman, not on the atheism but on the integrity of the story line at John C Wright’s blog. Maybe I won’t bother to see it at all.

  5. Separated at birth? You need facial hair to tell them apart…
    Phillip Pullman:
    William P. Young:

  6. Great interview. It is nice to see people on very opposing sides on being civil with each other.

    But my biggest question about Pullman was not answered –

    does he drink beer?

  7. Pullman lost me completely when he said the Lord of the Rings was “trivial”.

    Egad! 🙂

  8. Thanks for pointing out that interview. I had read some stuff about Pullman in The New Yorker but this was very interesting to read. I really enjoyed reading His Dark Materials. Some of the scenes are unforgettable.

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